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Prevent Windows Live from Hijacking Your IE Home Page

written by: Lamar Stonecypher•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 6/12/2009

Want to keep Windows Live applications and malicious applications (malware) from hijacking your home page location in Internet Explorer? This Quick Tip shows you how to lock (and unlock) your home page location.

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    It is annoying when Windows Live applications like Live Messenger change the Internet Explorer home page to MSN, especially after you’ve moved it away from MSN to begin with. Other applications and malware may do this, too. Fortunately, we can, with a simple Windows Registry merge, lock the home page to our chosen location. Similarly, with a second Registry merge, we can unlock the home page if other applications have maliciously locked it to a page we don't want.

    Here’s how.

    Click Start, Run, “notepad.exe" and press Enter in Windows XP or press the Windows button, enter "notepad," and press Enter in Windows Vista. Copy the following lines of text and paste them into Notepad. Select File and Save and save the file as “LockIEHomePage.reg" in a folder on your desktop.

    (It’s a good idea to keep a “Utilities" or similarly named folder handy on your desktop into which you can drop helpful little programs such as the following.)

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    Lock the Internet Explorer Home Page

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    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Control Panel] "HomePage"=dword:00000001 [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Control Panel] "HomePage"=dword:00000001 [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer] "NoSaveSettings"=dword:00000000
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    To lock your Internet Explorer home page, double-click the LockIEHomePage.reg file and “Accept" to write to the Registry. If Vista opens the file in Notepad, close Notepad, right-click the .reg file, and select Open With . . . Registry Editor. Then select "Continue" if User Access Control (UAC) is enabled.

    Finally, Vista will warn you that "Adding information can unintentionally change or delete values and cause components to stop working correctly. If you do not trust the source of this information in UnlockIEHomePage.reg, do not add it to the registry. Are you sure you want to continue?"

    Select "Yes," and the next dialog will say, "The keys and values contained in UnlockIEHomePage.reg have been sucessfully added to the registry.

    In the image below, we've selected Tools, Options. The home page was previously set to www.brighthub.com and is now grayed out, indicating that it can't be changed. (Click the image to enlarge it.)

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    Image

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    Unlock the Internet Explorer Home Page

    To unlock your Internet Explorer home page, paste the following lines into Notepad. Save the file as “UnlockIEHomePage.reg."

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    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Control Panel] "HomePage"=dword:00000000 [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Control Panel] "HomePage"=dword:00000000 [-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Group Policy Objects\LocalUser\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Control Panel] "HomePage"=dword:00000001 [-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Group Policy Objects\LocalUser\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Control Panel] "**del.HomePage"=" " [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer] "NoSaveSettings"=dword:00000000 [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Group Policy Objects\LocalUser\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer] "NoSaveSettings"=dword:00000000
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    To unlock your Internet Explorer home page, double-click the UnlockIEHomePage.reg file and select “Accept" to write to the Registry.

    And it works. In the image below, the home page field is editable again.

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    Image

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    What are Quick Tips?

    Quick Tips are short Bright Hub articles which are shorter than a regular article but longer than a blog posting. Quick Tips focus on a single topic or an answer to a specific problem that can be simply described with images and text.

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